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Book Title: Chinese Poems|
ISBN 13: 9780486411026
The author of the book: Arthur Waley
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: March 6th 2000
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 373 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.1
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"To transcend the bonds of the world"
Back in 1961-62, as a college student, I took a year long course in Chinese literature and have never regretted it. We were introduced to novels, poetry, short stories, and philosophy written over a period of nearly three thousand years. At the time, I had almost no knowledge of the world's literature beyond America, Shakespeare, and Japanese haiku. Though I enjoyed all parts of the course, the poetry of the Tang dynasty impressed me the most. I found it beautiful, philosophical, and clever at an age when these things impress most. In my life since those long ago days, I admit that poetry has not played a strong role. In fact, I have reviewed only one other book of poems, that too Chinese. Recently, I took out this book of Arthur Waley's, one that I had bought way back then, and reread it. The universality of human emotion struck me all the more forcefully, thanks to 53 years of living since my undergraduate days. Waley's translations struck me as more poetic than those of A.C. Graham, but I readily admit that to be a subjective judgement. Well, is poetry supposed to be some kind of objective science ?
There are poems from various eras of Chinese history here, up to the 17th century. The most impressive section of the book, however, is that which features the poems of Po Chu-i (772-846 A.D.) who served alternately as civil service administrator and political exile throughout his career, constantly writing poetry. When the poems are connected to periods and events in his life, they become even more poignant; the man becomes even more real. The book as a whole contains numerous poems of great beauty, summoning up all the human emotions of sadness, joy, bitterness, love, nostalgia, homesickness, and worldweariness. Let's face it, I'm neither a poet, nor a great reviewer of poetry books, but if CHINESE POEMS doesn't move you in some way, I'll eat my hat.
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Read information about the authorArthur Waley C.B.E., F.B.S. was a distinguished authority on Chinese language and literature. He was honoured many times for his translations from the Chinese and received the Queen's medal for poetry in 1953. His many books include Chinese Poems, Japanese Poetry, The Tale of Genji, The Way and Its Power, The Real Tripitaka and Yuan Mei.
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